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/■/'^ii OU^ oj ^f^€. Cof'n 





Written and drawn 
for his former colleagues and students. 
and presented with love 



Sanibel Island - Flrorida 


There was a certain sense of unhurried harmony, even majesty, in 
the orbits of the soaring buzzards overhead and the red earth all 
around gave even a greater luster to the opulent vegetation rising 
out of it. A certain nobiliy and grace mark those who had lived on that 
land and off that land for centuries. Even an occasional scar of erosion s '■'■ 
only- added a tired richness to it all, together with the sagging barn roofs 
and leaning poles and fences. That was at least so in my time in Virginia, 
which came to an end over two decades ago. 

The- old jslantation house which Pet«»r Williams had bought north of 
Amherst (vhere I lived> was a two-storyand basement brick: structure, flanked 

by, fireplace chimneys at each'-end. It had- been in total neglect for no one .r 
knew how many years. Even the long driveway to it had been lost under the 
avid growth of that region. Peter Was led to it as an afterthought of an 
exhausted real estate agent and at the end of a day of futil searching. This 
was a last attempt before sunset. But Peter's wife Manning, who was born in 
Lynchburg, twenty miles to the south, took to the spirit of the place immediately. 

It suited Peter perfectly, too, for he wanted to get away from city appearances 
as far as he could, having shaken Broadway dust off his feet, after a success- 
ful career as stage set designer. Now he was ready for the full unfoldment of 
his many talents, particularly in the field of ceramics. Manning, too, had 
written man]? "whoduni^^^and was looking forward to writing more. 



As soon as they moved in, Peter got busy, spurred on- by his boundless 
energy, and inexhaustible inventive spirit. In the living room he stripped. _ 

tfie walls of plaster down to the old wood lath. He launched himself on long- - — 

range renovations of the interior and one of t te first thing he did to the 
exterior was to restore the broken-down and partly non-existent -wrought-iron 
railing to the one-time formal stairs leading to the piano nobile. He 
was undaunted by the challenge of the elaborate iron work and so he restored the 
missing terminal focal point to the ancient boxwood-lined approach. The 
long-lost dignity --came back. -. . . 

- But-there was more to this plantation house than the atmosphere that 
surrounded it. Shortly after Peter and Manning moved in they were awakened 
one night-by the sounds of their piano, now temporarily in the second-floor 
hall. The single notes were hit at random and as if someone had idely amused 
himself. -It was no mouse or cat running' over the keys, as some friends had 
suggested; Peter told me of this incident with his charactertic serene amuse- 
ment* and no trace of annoyance or concern* ' It was all "diverting", as he 
was fond of this Henry-Lamesian adjective. But he was intrv gued enough to 
pursue the mystery further and so one day he improvised a planchette, by scrathing 
the alphabet on a square piece of board he happened to have around. So he 
and Manning got into a session and the contact was immediate. The correspndent 's 
name was Agness. VFho Agness was and what her connection with the house no one 
ever knew, but she proved to be highly communicative and ever on call. The 
sessions became frequant and Peter soon realized the planchette sessions would 
be a-good-way to entertain friends. Agness always obliged. ' 

One aftertoon I called on the Williamses and brought- with me Florence 
Robinson, -who was head -of the Sweet Briar art department at the time. I had 
also invited Gage Bush,- a- student of mine, whom I admired for her sensitiveness, 
grace, and maturity beyond her a.^, but just exactly vrtiy and how I singled her 
out I am not sure today. After we had our tea, Peter took a piece of what 

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was then known to artists as pebble board, a kind of heavy cardboard with a 
surface as rough as the name implies. In his blitherand breezy.tway he scrached 
in a grid -and the alphabet. Then he placed the planchette on the table and 
seated us around, himself facing Florence and myself facing Gage. Then each 
of us placed two fingers on the base of an upturned long-stem glass. Manning 
stood. by as .the interviewer,, . 


Manning began with casual ease, deftly and fluently, with challenging 
quest-ions. Tfi'e. glass jresponded promptly, gliding effortlessly actoss the rough 
surface of the board hither- and yon, in sweeping dashes and strokes, as if not 
even touching the surface of the board. I felt as if only the others were 
causing all the mot ion j and no doubt each person felt thesarae.s 

- It was Agness again. The first few sentences she uttered made- not much 
sense, with some incoherance and hesitation, and planning asked: 

"Are you drunk again?" • -^ > 

•*Yes," Agness answered. ^' »' 

"What did you get drunk on?" 

"On sp!Lrits.*' - • . v » 

Then the glass spelled out this off-hand offer: '■■ ■> 

"Agness can be had..." 

There being no respnse on our part^ Agness withdrew -and was heard no 
more during that session. 'She was followed by a wewian who^'said her name was 
Coyen Lofus. She was a niece of Thomas Jefferson, she averred, and she gave 
us the date of her birth in Roman numerals, some time in the late eighteenth 
century. (The Jefferson family tree which I obtained from the CharlottesTille 
Historical Society contained no such namei) 

Hannig's questions continued to be searching and suitable,- smooth and 
as if rehearsed. The characters appeared from nowhere and so Coyen Loftus 
was followed by a Mr. Abbott, who had come down from "Ebony Glenn, New Jersey.' 
He had- been driven-down, he said, but didn't like at all "these new-fangled 
inventions." ' ■ ' • • • 

The presence of Gage Bush must have contributed to the vividness of the 
sessions -She was a girl of peaceful charm and quiet wisdom. r. Then I recalled 
meeting her mother at some college— function and how she told me thaf >*■- i 
Cage had been a poleoraelitis victim in her early youth and confined to be^ 

indefinitely. One day she rose from her bed, stood erect, thrust forward 

her arms, the palms upturned, her gaze heavenward, and so she walked across 

the room "every whit whole." She attended high school and a school of dance 

at the same time. I was ^6ld ab6ut jf ifteen years . Ago that Gage had, a school of danc 

of her own in her native Birningham, Alabama. 

That "other world** was not strange- to Gage. She had been living with 
her family in a house originally owned by a Mr. Percy (the brother of a well- 
know writer of the time), who had committed sucide in that very house by 
firing a shotgun. _ After the Bush family-had moved in, the same shot was 
heard frofa time to time and loud enough to rouse the neghborhood* One day 
police came to the entrance door, to Gage's and her mother's great embarrassment, 
and they were tempted to say, never mind, it is only Mr.' Percy again. 
Eventually it all stopped. • 

• The- session at Williarases that afremoon ended with a message from an 
unknown person to me: '^'Follow Miss Robinson and pray for peace.** It took 
me all these years to suspect that it wasn't the world peace that might have 
been- meant (Second World War having ended a few years before) but the peace 
with Miss Robinson, whom i had rudely antagonized on some occasions - one of 
my many r amors es of that time} and "following her" aight have been taken in i 
the same sense. Well, anjrway, if the actuatllty of the present is an illusion, 
as seen by many, how much more may the past be seen in the same- light* •-- 

Signlehanded Peter had built a writer's studio for Manning, all concrete 
blocks -ontr a concr^e slab, and a much larger workshop for his own ceramics. He 
had more commissions froa'-Sweet.. Briar stodpnts for cermaic gift pieces than he 
could—meet. It was a buoyant and joyous -lifev And that is how- I left Peter 
when in 1958 I came north to Pennsylvania. There continued an occasional :<c.-;.:ji>i. 
correspndence between us and his last letter -ended with **Keep in touch.*? 

.' But one day some time later I ran into a friend from Amherst, who 
was vacationing in the Poconos.and this is what he told me: 


- Manning's mental health, which had shovm signs of weakness even during 
my time there, had deteriorated to such extent that Peter had to take her and 
commit her to ah' institution in- Shenandoah Valley. The dreaded -mission over, 
Peter retarned home and- sat down and wrote a letter to the>Amhers sheriff.' 
In in he -accurately a.nd*calmiy described. where he would be' found the next 
-day, ih' the garden," ■"'^c-';:. >. on such and" such a bench (the one on the side 
of theformal appraach;to:the house), i •He mailed the letter and then went on 
to be the^ guest at a' dinner party. In the morning the cheriff followed the..- 
instructions and found Peter as described, a gun beside him. But Jeter's beloved 
cat was nowhere to be found. -He had sent Jer on before hira. 

Grief for Mann^t»g? Perhaps. But how much the house had to do with it 
all will never- be known. '■.■ 

- I was suceptible 'to the enchantments and the in/steries of Virginia. The 
turbulent) opulent c^oud«; the drama of the sunsets; the earth, sometimes ir- 
retrievably scarred,:; as- if weeping red tears; the frequent thunderstorm^ and 
the bolts that can , and -do .strike twice in axe place and that tonly minutes apart; 
firy balls that come down the chimney, flashin the fireplace, rurhi'ng across the rooi 
as a ball. t)e^??Q\t 'e^^iences rosersuitably out of such settings. And so 
one ni^t: hv the misty glow- of a full moon, a friend and I were returning • 
from a walk to Sweet Briar Lake. In the-hazy distance, about a hindred yards 
away, a slim and erect -young woman walked -t across the scene from right to left, 
with a light and hasty step. She was wrapped in a faded gray-greenish shawl, 
covering feer head and arms and a basket over her arm, all like something I 
could have seen only in the days of my Serbian childhood. Her stride was purpose- 
ful, rapid, and graceful, hit led nowhere,- to a brink and then the lake below. 
My frvend and I stopped -.our conversation. and b^ok- a few steps to the right, 
the better to follow the basteningfigure passing behind txees. Then she vanished. 

On another occasion another friend and 1 were Sunday dinner guests 
at an old plantation house again, which had been bought recently by our 
hosts and -thoroughly renovated. During the meal we heard some H^t .andf^ 
fast feminine steps descending a stairway adjoining the dining room. My friend 
and I looked at each other across the table, then at our hosts, expecting 
some remark about a possible- house guestr. left to herself upstairs, now 
going otittr But nothing. Our hosts however quickly added that there have 
been some foolish rumors about certain sounds occur ing in their -house, ' Bat 
that wa5 nothing but some loose planks of a nearby bridge that rattled every 
time a car went accross-it. -That was all. v ■ « 

- However, it might be added that about a year later the lady of the 
house suddenly departed' and the bereft hnsband sold the house at once. 

■• And now a final addition to our gallery of hosts and ghosts. The 
same friend of that walk back from Sweet" Briar Lake and I were Sunday dinner 
gusts at another old plantation house. What I most vividly remember of ~ . — 
that drcasion was a center piece trtiichgraced^ tte dinner table.- The picture 
of it has-been stored away tn my visual wemory all of these thirty^ years 
or so *5Tid I can evoke the haunting grotesque apparition even now, l^et it?rr.;;r - 

speal^ through this drawing-as a' isyraboii sheading to the whdl^^epfsodfel;'?" "^^ 

-.1 -rr.' "X^v • . ( . - • f, ^ 

^11 ; 

As I recall the dinner table, on the left of that solid silver fcfenter- 

piece, barely above the heavy damask table cloth, there shone a pair of blue- 
gray eyes; almost jk, vapor emanating out -of them as out of dry ice. That 

and a dark brown facie was all I could see of ray tiny hostess. :. Above her •tr''-- ^ 
towerfed^ a tall back of an ornate antique chair alaost up to the butlerfs 
chin,' Nothing that transpired at this dinner party can be seen as noteworthy, 
but what had taken place a few years earlier, could. Some time later this 
was related to ruE: 

One day the husband of my hostess was found hanging from one of the 

pipes along the ceiling of the mansion's basement. Proper authorities were 

notofied and a case of -suicide ascertained* Later, however, it leaked out 
somehow- that the feet t«ere touching the ground. But in those days justice 
was sometimes the handmaid of wealth and -what was considered prominence. 

• A- spectacular followed'. A large assembly of friends and invited guests 
stood in suspenceful waiting in the mainr-hall-Df the minsion, The bier^, spot- 
lighted, in the center and mountains of flowers around. At the proper time 
the bereft widow slowly descended the sta^$,supressing sobs ina J.ace<t--'r:^_ - 
handkerchief, and threw herself over the'renains. The solemn quietness of — 
the scene was marred only by the gentle purring of a deftly conceiled movie 
CeUnerait- • ■ ' 

It may not be irrelevant to mention that a few days later the butler 
was found drowned in the shallow pool of the estate, face down. 

- But- enough of this necro-goriness. It was all only a subjective ex- 
perience, anow swalloKedlsy the past^ and totally contrary to my present views 
and to what my friends -know t>f me. It was all subjective, all unreal, doubly 
unrealr if all we see and experience is but a projection of our^ own. mind, carnal 
mind, as St. Paul called it. When I was about five, I thought that seeing 
was an out-going process. Once my"father detected that beilief in something 


I had 9aid, and corrected me. Now I wonder if my father was right. He would 

not have been in Plato s eyes, who, through his Timaus said that "The gods 

contrived eyes to give- light.** And then:-*The pure fire which is within they 

made to flow through the eyes in a stream smooth and dense." And again: 

•*The ey* is affected by the-object, and itself strikes and touches it.** 

Undeniably the eye "strikes and touchesf.'-rftyt"- a:, person -who raayjbev.Withjtheviback 

to us or a person a blosk away, aaay "feel -it ^^^ felt, /r.-~ i'l ,\'.i • . -- •-.%:.__ 

.,'L;;.-. : Another "thought that tormented me at the same time of infancy was -the 

question of what would *there be if there were nothing? I -could not conceive 

of absolute nothingness, nor can I today? .nor ^ can any one. For- "isness** 

means consciousness and consciousness cannot be nothing. -: 

But - now to return for a moment to the plantation days. As did Peter 

Williams's house, so did also Sweet Briar House, now the residence of college 

presidents b'lt originally of the Williarases, vrtio wererthefwrhersloftthecplantation, 

remindQ<*<=^nei if reven' distantly, of the- flaYorethatiaemanated from Villa' Cetinale 

near Siena. in-Itatlyi which"! visited and whose stately. layout I skethed back 

in 1928.. c The formal linear layout of the Villa's grounds struck a magic note 

in my heart, vrtien I examined it recently, after the drawing had lain ^in dark 

cupboards for over half a century- and it fairly spoke to me, poining out with 

the five distinct organic parts of its layout, some five corresponding phases 

of my life, Sweet Briar being one of them» .-- the villa itself. 


. 4 

- . , 13 • 

- Sweet Briar House -ia only of wood, a ^int imitation of-the arches of the 

*?01d World," and yet its boxwood surroundings ^pay bid to compete, tf even only faint 

and arches 

with-the mysterious cypresses^of the Cetinale, But one distinction that could 
have been envied even | ^" the Renaissance^ was the old apple orchard, acres 
and ictes "^ of apple blossoms in the spring, •whicl>\wexeL.a.J"ainpus shpwplaceiand 
attraction for visitors from afar. That was "^o in my time. ^\ic iJator the 
jorchard was mercilessly cut down* The reaison? "Hard to maintain." Lack 
of sensitivity, I would say. - - 

A- smaller item but equally manifesting a lack of sensitivity, at least 
in the eyes of this observer, was Daisy Williams's room at Sweet Briar House, 

which contained her harp, .^^oks of her childhood, a diafy,"and^bth'er bemoarabilia. 
t was all thrown out and disappeared. The reason? A powder room was needed. 

Lack of-sensitivity agsin, as inany of . iis thoughty. '•''•' -In-later years I was told 
that - even-all the antique forniture, foiraing a historic t^le with thp old' 
plantation house, was thrown out and saattered through the dormitories. A'feain 

what els€f 1jut insensitivlty? -. • . 

What would the antidote be? I thought then and I still think now, 
art— iris tract ion. All disciplines, but art, v^en it comes to the visual aspect. 
And this is where r.:y own teaching of art - a provilege I stll so humbly 
cherish - can possibly;.corae r - 3 in for some degree of jjjstif ication. My 
goal was not to turn students into artists nor to stuff their minds with 
dates and- borizontal classifications of a multitude of art works of the past, 
each of'wiich with a merit of its own regradless of the time and trends z-' " 

and -schools and influences.- My goal was to make even an ever so small con- 
tributionto thei/^ sensitivity, where it was needed, as well as to point out 

the human-values as reflected in the products- of the human genius. Quality 

instead- of quantity, above all, and benevolent flight of imagination above the 

practical— fact, for "man does not live by bread alone." All this because iji - ._- 

-art --^.axchitecure^v^fculpture, and painting - the slightest line or the s^lightest- 


of a line becomes essential w Not time, not how long or how much, but how 
well, thus cultivating soul with a small s ,■ which leads to Soul with a 
capital S. ;~'""^i; -r< -1 -^ -. ■ ■ ■ 

And-so if in the-middle of a lecture, cwith, «a)r» Titiaa's Venus of 
Unrbino ' on the screen\*Bcoinpanied by a suppressed gigle or two) a hand Jjient 
up and the question is asked: "Tiow long- did' it take him to paint- that?** 
then 5-felt I was xi the- right place. Quality over quantity and taste over 
time, - \r , .. r ' * • ' 

-"^ in -my own experience time proved to noneaxitent and eighteen yea^ 
passed as one day and- every day a new beginning| a*>: ii- ,i f "•]!.•?': '•Tr-i r-r-=-^r7r- 
v"fjc .Mrfc, Xt was not 'all roses, and I had been warned it wouldn't bfe^-rl.. 
but th^n the thorns were all of my own nakinp,or Stemming f^om Xi<'.(o.?2^g{?ro'-' 
the causes within me. - "What a man soweth. ."etc. Education, taken or given, 
raeans'-purification'.' '^Yet, with it all, the task of teaching is a "strong 
drink,*'- as Miss Glass, -thepresident, used to say. I mpart ing ideas and 
encountering receptivity or challenging opposition was a source of gratification. 
^iThen to- see the students go out int o th e-luxiuriant nature surrounding the 
canpus~and bring back <:reditable landscape paintirngs, clear, strong, well 
organized and clearly modelled and always catching the basic reality and 
the essential shape and color, just as they were told to do, -« that waS'a'£,iff '"'vl 
gift fr6m.-fieaven to me. I wish I could include here, reproduced, Some of the 
dozens and dozens of drawings and oil paitnings I still have as ray cherished 
possession* Incidentally, the detachment and complete lack of self-seeking, -'<^ 
seen in- the fact that those unsung works: of art were left behind, without 
ever giving it a thought, is a reward in- itself and an educational plus. 
(No signature on the face-was acceptable? only on the back>) Or to see them 
=^^n"the' studio -draw and paint from a piece of drapery with as much unerring 
feeling for the dynamic spacial relations as a master painter, that was also 
a reward. They were simply asked to discern the nearest geometric shape 


first* then the middl-e-tone of the object, that is to say, neither the 
glare of light nor the emptiness of darkness. That was a discipline that 
not- onl3r*led to aepccdssftil. painting, but it carried over into life itself. 
For the glare of success may be as evil as the depth of failure. Thus 
the importance of the- middle-tone. Tha|; term itself, together with the am — - 
appetite for the basic and the abiding^ I owe to the great teachings of 
Kenneth Hays Miller at t^ie Art Students League in New York. He was a scholar 
of the best and the essnetial in the Renaissance tradition as veil as a 
painter of considerable merit - before he turned exclusively to solutions 
instead of expressions. 

hfjr students tjere led to guard against easy dishes and always to 
•go down to the root of things and not to be beguildd by the surface appearances/- 
to be radical, in other words, in the true sense of the world. That provided 
also an antidote to the shallowness that breads a craving- for deceptive 
appearances and for the mat-erial ways of filling the vacuum. In other 
words, :the necessity~-of relyftng on sens e a nd not on thesenses. For what- 
ever stimulates the body to stimulate the mind is wrong and ends in pain. 

As the last link with the antebellum days there lingered in the 
vicinity two dear old characters, both former slave girls. Signora (pro- 
npunced Sig-nora), being the only name any one knew, had been Daisy Williams's 
playmate in her early youth. Now - amd-noone knew her age - she was no- 
minally a cook, but more of- a companion in the Jensen household. Mrs. 
Jensen (Jane Wetherlow) had taught English literature and Mr. . Jensen had 
been a refectory chef,- after a checkered carrer, which included the rrjle -■ 
of a "heavy** in some of Charlie Chaplin's pictures (so "heavy** in fact t . ; .^ 
and weighing 340 pounds-that a special seat had to be made for him in the 
company's auditorium). As a chef he was an "absolute ruler? who began a 
new college year by lining up 


•• • 

• *. * 

his kitchen staff outside the refectory and ih^vihgj thea swear allegiance to the 

American flag; He had builf his- ''Sans-Souci-- somewhat in the style -of hii^ native - 

Danemark and-in that was then still the wilds • of -Aaherst. It was there that I first 

knew Mrs. Jensen, her sister- Hary^ and Signora, Whce T lived" iiearby. The sisters 

were dedicated-Christian Scientists and it was largely through them and through- -*—_ 

Jensen, while he was still, that I entered that field. ^ 

*• ! ' ' _ 

- Occasionally 'l would go there Sundiy- evenings, don Jensen's tall chefs 
ap and ample apron and make^ pancakes, ending-the evening reading aloud from -Pick- 
ick Papers- and, as a change from Dickens, from Flaubert's -Madame Bovary,- where 
had to do some skipping here and there. Signora always sat in the background, 
ilent,- a- knowing smile on her gentle face. She was a mine of picturesque fables 
nd ghost stories. A sure way to get rid of ghosts was to read from the Bible 
lackwards- (word by word or letter by letter, ididn't ask). The absence ii her 
ind of any line between fact -and- fiction was-pure poetry to me-, recalling the 
ipirit of- the best of the African sculpture in wood. Signora knew exactly where 
ihe silver and gold of the Williams family lay hurried i "Fourteen steps along the 
boxwood hedge east^of the house, then left five steps, and then poke down with an 
iron rod and you'll hit a ftat stone. A box with silver and gold is under it." 
Another such cache was in' the wall of the staJr landing at Swe^t Briar House. 
We never tried. Tr-.-r^ . • r - - . 

The other relique of slavery days was Aunt Alice (again, the only name 
we knew).- She^was ninety fourat'the time ("In ray ninety fourth year," she corrected 
me once when" I took some students to call on her). Sie summed up her life simply: "i havj 

rked like a dog, I have lived like a lady. " v I can still see her silhouette along 

the path on the periphery of the campus, bent -to the ground under a cloud of bundled-up 
• jlaundry, trtiich she took home to do. Her duty as a young slave girl was to ring 

t the plantation bell and summon all the hands at meal time. "And they all had to 


I come when I rang the bell! •• ."* 1 . V :■•; -x^r-a . 



- 1 


Courtesy The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 

'The Great Parade' (1954): Oil on canvas by Femand Leger f^TH E CHRISTI AN SCIENCE JyTONfTOR' 

. ^'- . , May 12, 1981.-^ 



Picasso is a household word, but few people outside-of the art 
world know of -Bracque and Leger, and yet the three of them were 
celebrated forerunners of that striking, mysterious, revouCionary, 
puzzling, maligned 'and glorifi^dlmovement in the art]of the earrly part 
of this, century'. All the three, were .born -i-n ti>« sane year*,;. ^ <;ni? - year. 
Pieasso is^still held- at" the pinnacl* of the Olympus 'Of ^ art? -Braquerhas 
already faded;" - Fe^hand^Legetiis tfiliiway'Stiil^holding hxshown,r:perhaps through 
the;? sheer, weight of his"! work, 1 which somehow has a cast ifonr^pirit ^aboyt jit. 
AndHso just .asil ea^writingi this,r'Irean*'-across. a f avorableoatcicle 
tonrhim^in a' daiMirinewspaperv The Christian Science Monitor^icfroa which 
this plate is-feproduced'. ; - » • ■ • 

■ '-When France was invaded by Hitler's amries during the Second World 
War, Leger managed -to flee from i^ris down to the Riviera and from there 
he took the last ship that sailed from Marseilles to America. While 
waiting, he spent his time on the beaches. -■. ''The.. swimmfersnvrtrtJowetet-Uplungingfron 
the- many diving boarris attracted his attention, as they Bade -superimposed 
and. interlaced patterns against each-pther in the air. He made many sketches, 
brought them with him, and then further developed them into innumerable 
studies in several -media, pen-and-ink* pencil, gouache, oilj In New York 
Nelson Rockefeller -comissioned Leger- to do a large mural for the stair 
hall of his residence, irul^tbe ^Divers?; prbyiaedfitheythemeiJL^i-ili^c-.; . 
Harmon Col* stone was Ebckefellet.'.ssaxchitect, the choice being 


natural, for the two had been room-inates*at Harvard. Harmon worked closely 

with Le^er in placing the mural and he and 'I had been friends fon many 

years and from the time I -was a young drnftsraan in his father's 'office in 

New York, ■vhen< Lafayette. A, Goldstone had a large architectural practice 

in the busy twenties. Thus through Harmon Golsd tone I was able to approach 

Fernand^Leger with' an' invitation to visir Sweet Briar and deliver a lecture. 

He took, to it kindly, as Harmon informed-rae, and responded- without delay. 

I had time enough to prepare the student** rainds by -presenting 4 a aiiiieogra^ed:: 

intirodoctipn intTJ Xeger55»«:ifork»-'~He. arrived- with. a large bandlercontaining 

fifty of those studies '.of his TlongeursS or Divers, TThi«i provided material 

for -an"iexci ting; exhibit ion J ithbugh tadical in those idays.;torsorae»; for shortijr_after 

ihe^opening I found a few of} the pictureir-tamed face to t-te wall! It wouldn't 

L . of one of those studies, 
happen-today. Leger -inade me a present iwliich hang in my art department office 

until my ^«wn departure some twelve years -later, when I bequeathed it to the 

college. "' '"•r'-Tir-;" ? ^ ■ • " • 

The afternoon of the lecture I took Leger for a ride,tt© ext)oSl?"him 

to* the charms of Virginia-mountains and we went as far as'-duejia Vista. There 

we stopped and I took him into a country -hardware store, of all- things, for 

:. I knew of his penchant 'forr^tobls and hardware,- which he saw as object of art. 

Somt axes, -with their functional handles and bright red ends were just what 
he wanted to see. •'Everywhere one goes in this country one sees objects of 
utility paineed in gay colorsi" That appealed to him. It happened so that 
the film he had composed -and- produced and shown that evening was mostly of 
an interplay of pots and pans and hardware objects of various kinds. 

On our way back w«- passed a silvery -water tank that shone against 
the blue sky and I remarked regretfully that it spoiled the sciene. **0 nol** 
he said, "I like that. That is popular taste." He had a reverence for "gout 
populaiare".-7r'l_:fc,Vi5^^awj also a hand-colored picture post card;-- » ^- c.v.rl. 


... *- «- 

(color photography was -just beginning) on- my. desk, showing-an empty parking 

lot at'-night, lighted, 'i^icAi some small town Jrad published, with- pride and 

I was showing it to students as an example of awfiilL taste. 'Again, . "O. non, - 

c"*"est bpn^comme le' g6ue!poi^biairel'?o . :l . - 5rEv>T— qrr.i 

The theme of Leger's' lecture was- to be "Le Nouveau' Realism** and he 

elaborated on that subjectlltii atf we were driving back. *'What Is It of?'** 

people would ask In front of a picture, "he said, "It Is of Itself!** he 

answered. "Why does It have to represent anything?" That, too, was a point 

wortfe"def ending In those days. "A vase of flowers, for Instance,' is -what ' it 

is and -it need not represent anything;: else. A picture has as much right 

to exist as a vase of -flowers." That iswhat-I mean by the New- Realism." 

At thatrvery moment we found ourselves creeping up a hill close behind a 

heavily loaded lumber truck and Leger suddenly exclaimed: -^' Eh vollal Ca, c'est 

le nouveau realism!" meaning, of course, -the random relations of the logs, 

a perfect example of the varitey vn unity which Is the underlying characteristic 

of the-*)ehavlour of the Inanimate thiggs'in nature, such as clouds, smoke, 

raindrops on a marble top table, and so forth, -bsr well as of ' 5^'e cstijbkes^ ^; t5He -h 

brush' of a a prof Iclent artist. Nothing could have Illustrated better Leger's 

point. And that quality aloiie, even abstracted from a contiext', dld''dccupy M-r- , 

the eyes and hearts'of some leading painters ever since Cezanne- started 

playing with his apple-andrtable cloth arrangements. (Jackson Pollock, and Mondrian, 

too, carried 

this preoccupation to a complete emancipation from atay fejfreJsentatlon, le^aVlng 

random only)That Is wh^^Leger considered? Cezanne "the father of-roodem painting", 

and "i-f-at- -hadn't been- for Cezanne, I wouldn't be standdAfe^here 'before, you^today, * 

as I was to hear him say inrhis lectQre' &r?f e»*ho«rS'^4ter._ It- might be added that 

1^ the purest -example of that random would the so-called Brownian movement of 

particles In a vacuum. a^:'Nat!ure._3iever: failslin; that''random,"3only a sluggish mind,— doe 

>?$*-; I remember callinilt "divine random" in my lectures, until I realized that 

God has nothing to do with It •- Heaven, yes,, but only_ In contact with "the earth. 


~ • • 21 • - - 

It is a law of nature but laws afCnbttj^ goals in themselves but~are aeaniagful. 
nrly byvirtue of their -application. 'Leger's i-Nevrdealism- cafed noOiiftg for-"'-^ 

the subject .itself rie-grand sujet!* of^xhe- Renaissance and:ii:s aftermath,- but 
only for the physical aspect,- in the age of the physical. ^In a nutshell/'^it i , i 
^was. all earth and nd heaven..t a^ouuf..:^ '.u. 

I- "-The time of the- lecture came* -jieger. and I-mounted the platform and 
stood side by side. Then he would real oii:^ what seemed like an interminable 
sentence? a veritable Gre'ek period, then cross his arms, draw himself up, c'>-. 
clear lis throat a bit and-then as if to say, See whA you can do with it! . . 
Fortuitoasly and roost fortunately the night-bcfore Madame Johnson of the French 
department had given merto-read an article Leger had written, which turned oot 
to be a*«ost word byaword the present lecture^ va;vtKat-heT^ed. • And- st) it- alt 
went well; 5 BatMthe >>ti .j in- surfaced only rn*tiue_jBiddle of the nirlxt and I woke 
up with--^ start: "Did ffrsay Merrimft*"wheni should have 6aid*Mailin6§,"^whose'influenc 
on modern art Leger praised'?'*-But no, for hetcertaily would have^-caught the . eror ?UJd 

would have-correcktW me,- as he did in the'following instances ..litLa^'s 
- •'VenoSiOf Ufc-bino"was on trhe-screen - as an example of the "grand sujet," and 
Leger described it as "sensualism," I couldn't disagree with him^morie and so 


I left the word out ofv tbe long sentence; thinkin^e Wouldn't know the difference. 
Not sol-As-I finished, Leger, before starting on the next sentence, added, era= 
-_phasis-ing every syllable! ^'sen-su-a-1 ism ! " Well , so be it, but I still thought 
later, iB the case of Boucher, above all in Renoir, sensualism, perhaps, but 
j-ii Titian's Lcase nothing :buC"tntmanism aind homage to -feminine beauty,' which is pT^ 
potential^apti^esiiiCMad^i;^ B^t wher/s do you draw the l,ine? Leger • iaight-haTe--A«ked<5? ■ ^. 

- However, I -didn't lose any sleep over that ones 

'-In addition to -the "new realism"- against the "grand subject", Leger 
presented in his lecture yet anotheT-this-versus-that cleavage in art, this 
time the age-long confrontation of Classicim versus Romanticism. But "quant A moi... 
I prefer the classical, Ingre, DaviSV" And of course he would, considering 


the cast-iron spirit of his fugures, with solid, uncorapromising outlines and 
metalic blues and full-strength yellows and reds. But therein lay his strength, 
direct, sincere, open. 

When on the wall of the college studio Leger saw a print of Raphael's 
"DisputA" (or was it "Scool of Athens"?) he remarked: "C'est le theatre, ce 
rt'est pas la painture! " Next to it a still life by Bracque and he wrinkled 
his nose in disapproval: "Never liked his wok. It's all chiffon I " Some 
other painting we discussed were all chiffon to Leger, or else some were "sec. " 
Whatever lacked "juice", as we would say, was sec , a highly descriptive terra, 
I thought. Once he applied- it?a mobile he had seen, which someone on the 
campus had made out of large thorns of a tree common in that region. When 
I took Leger to see the- college art library, he was not interested i "I do , 
I do not read." And a doer and maker he indeed was. However, he had an abun- 
dance of opinions and a knowledge of the history of art. Then seeing near- 
by a small museum collection of Aegean as well as American Indian ceramics, 
he remarked with delight how eveywhere one goes in this country, there is 
always a museum, some sort of a collection. And everywhere he did go. The 
better to get acquanted with the country, Leger had taken a bus from coast 
to coast and so reached Mills College in California, where he spent some. ._rrr; 
time as art ist-in *t esidence. 

My memorable contact with him was then renewed once more on my next 
trip to New York, when I was a guest at a dinner he had given and cooked 
himself at his studio on the south side of West ^ott), overlooking Bryant Park. 
The meal was superb and we were enetrtained withthe reminiscences of his 

Native Normandy - his youth; his loving relation to his mother; her grief 

when for the first time in his youth he>, spent one night away from home; the 

great event when the family laundry was done once a month, and so forth. 
Our napkins were paper towels and the slices of bread came from a loa^' he 
carved against his chest The other guest was Julian Green, whose FRench was 
so fluent and idiomatic that it out-Frenched Leger, -and that 

t - . 23 - 

left sie somewhere by the- wayside. Of course, he bas an expatriate, living and 
writing in- Parish lrir-FDsnc|M=rand now here^only on a visit. -After dinner Leger 
took as Co the great- north window of his-Trtndio, to show •j-'-the flickering and 
i- -flashing of; a narrow sea of red, orange, green and yellow ■ electric signs up 
Sixth.Avenue,''a~precious sight in Leger *s eyes. 

- -.-While the practice of art in ray (bourse was meant tn instill sensitivity, 
the history of arti, ft-ora>the time of Titian's. fHenus pf . Urbinof t9 the .time;,^ 
-'^Leger's. ."New Realism** Jfdd. the, truckload of lumber ^hat.i^^strsted it, was 

; to be seen as^ a path from |jeavenly inspiration to earthly observation. — ' 
a path that has now ended., ,,• - . g^t some- still drive beyond 

the "dead-end" sign and what we are seing today is a mass of splinters and bits 
of wreckage whirling in t^he air. What is left is no longer' a material for any 
academic- discipline. It leads not to sensitivity but to the center of the 
ephemeral,-' fallible mortal ego^ wtiile sensitivity cultivated -led to soul and love, 

than which there can be no higher goal. • 

Tliat is why it was with great Satisfaction that on-' my tour of some 
sixteen colleges and universities as ly sabbatical leave project in 1949 I 
found- every deparment of -art turned into a department of design. ~kT\d sd'^he 
need of the time was met and we have reaped the fruit of that sound change 
ever since in every visual aspect of life. 





















































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J)ea>v -T* 

If by now you have received my "Minimemoirs, " please tear out page 25 
and replace it with the enclosed. Excuse the wishap and thank you - 




Walt Disney had a single word for the activity I am describing « "Hacket . " 
In a message, which in a strange way came from him to me, he wrote: "All art 
is a racket!" He meant, I took it, that the current art, even at that time, 
rested on values no higher than the shock it produces and the publicity it gets. 
This was at the time of Disney's "Fantasia,", which I extoled in ray classes 
as an example of a true American art and, Being based on kinetic drawing, a 
true art of our time. I believed that a similar art form would have been 
practiced by the old masters if they had had it. Titian would have exchanged 
his canvas and easel for camera and screen. El Greco, too, For Titian painted 
in one- instance several successive scenes, diminishing into distance, as in 
his "Abduction of Europa" (Gardner, Boston) and El Greco did the same in his 
"Miracle of St, Mauritz" (Escorial). And there are other instances of a craving 
for pictorial motion at that time. 

Imbued with such views, a student of mine traveled home at Christmas time 
(in the days of railroadsl ) and in the dining car spotted Walt Disney with 
his wife. Dying to meet him and tell him of the admiration imprated to her, 
she devised a cunning trick: she "inadvertendly" pressed her elbow against J 
the bell-button at her table and kept it pressed until the waiters began running 
up and down the isle in confusion. She took that opportunity and introduced 
herself to the Disneys. (Why she had to shake a whole mountain just for a 
mouse - even a Mickey Mouse in this case, was puzzling to me, but such was 
her story.) She was asked to join them and so had an opportunity to tell 
Disney of her teacher's admiration. Then at the close of the visit Disney 
took a menue and on its back drew a large Mickey Mouse and then the words: 
"All art is a racket!" He signed it and asked her to take the souvenir to 
her professor on her return to the college. So she did and then asked if 
she could "own it part time." "Full time" wa§ granted, though reluctantly. 




^^^ uring the sabbatical leave mentioned earlier, I could perceive 
^^M "but through a glass, darkly" what was in later years- to becone 
ray exclusive"" outlook on life and on man. In those later years I learned 
that there are always two, not one but two - a double vision in a sense, and we 
-are to see the one as all and the other as - well, not really nothing, 
but prone to be proved to be nothing. The one is a tangible unreal, the 
other ^n ' intangible real. And so is- everything and every one. 

■ To be a bit more specific, one alone cannot be anything. God is 
oner'we say, but that is in quite a different sense. He is one by virtue 
of being All. For in-the very iast analysis - or the very first - there 
are-only two most basic things in the>world (or outside of the world) 
and those are heaven and earth. There cannot be less, not more, than ' 
those two. And since men are a product; of the interaction between heaven and 
earth, there are only -two kinds of men (that is^.ojien and women) and they 
are- either of heaven or of earth, and all the admixtures in between. 

tff that two-raan* basic division- 1 first learned from that great and 
most^original Jewish dissident theologian and, above all, organizer, without 
whom there would be— safe to say - no Christianity today and no church. 
That-rean was Paul of Tarsus. In a letter he wrote to a church he had -or- 
ganized in the city of -Corinth in Greece (the first of two letters) he said s 
"As-we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of 
the heavenly." And then J "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the. second 
man is from heaven (not "the Lord from heaven** *s 

f .- .». 

- - - - 27 .. - . ... 

^roneously- added^ed^<*nd-the italics are mine). Now it is the second man 

thaCfdoetk thciworka" --^ the -works of arc.,, and he does it throush hhe first 
man.- The- first man can "be" false, frail, faulty, fallacious, and fallible, 
but he serves as the Vashrcle for the Expression of the second man. That was 
certainly- so in the case— cf Beethoven to an outstanding degree, but Michel- 
angelo, Motzart, Bach, -and others, Chey all their own share of mortal frailty. 

'K'/S*. . -• - rt — - - . . . . 

I witnessed this seeming anomaly -at first hand when I went to call 

on the great Yugoslav sculptor. Mestrovic, as part of my sabbatical leave 

project. Mestrovic had fled his own country when the Onmmunist regime set 

in and hehad received -a generous hosptiality at Syracuse University, where 

he established himself as sculptor in reeidence. I had -met hira-on an earlier 

occasion, and time-it was acourtesy call, backed by * hope of seeing some 

of his latest work. Bufifrora the moment i sat down and was-asked about my 

family in; Belgrade, the^gteat sculptor welcomed this oppotunity- to vent all of i.'> 
^./ -. up; 
pent-up grievances, whi Che had cherished.; against- the late ■ King- Alexander^ who= 

as5a,ssinated .gome years before by. the' -Croatian separatistr— .terrorusts. The 

steady nnrmur went oon^ one cigarette lit from another in an uninterputed 

chain. -•■ ■."■"' . - • ■ 

Thus the first man took over and the second man was left behind with the 

last' strike of the h&mmgr and the last stroke of the chisel. Two announcements 

for dinner by his son went unheeded. Undoubtedly all the grievances might have 

been fully justified, but one somehow expects a more philosophical acceptance 

••of life By thorse who deal with the things of heaven. -The first man was fully 

in command on that occasion. As we were parting I voicedrny "delight at -the 

comfort and safety that surrounded tim. "Well," he shrugged his shlders, "it 

is better than a- •■,:; concentration camp."Bu£ as-th esecond man Mestrovic had some 

of the most magnificent marbles';-of our time to his credit, such as his "Widows" 

of the Kossovo cycle. 


A totally different picture presented itself when on the same sabbatical 
tour I visited another great sculptor, Carl Milles, who was now a sculptor-in- 
residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art at Ann Arbor, Michigan. This visit had 
been arranged by tht director of the Academy, on whom I had called first; 
and needless to say the prestige of Sweet firiar had much to do with the easy t.-yi-'--' 
opening.' of all the doors- I- approached. I went to Milles's house at the 
appointed t-ime in the middle of the aftemtjon.- He met me at the door and 
welcomed me as warmly as -if I had been a dear old friend. He had been reading 
"An Album of Celestial Photographs" by Bedell, which on its back cover bore this 
quotation from Rubiyat : "When all the temple is prepared within, / Why nods . 
the drowsy worshiper outside?" That same book he inscribed "Fronhis friend, 
Carl Milles**, enclosing several pages of his own typewritten observations and 
thought Sir" similarly signed, and presented them both to me asthe visit ended. 
But I am ahead of my story. - ■ . 

Throughout the visit I ''heard nothing but loving and appreciative and 
all-embrasing commentaries on art, on life. Then he took me into a large room full of 
Greek marbles, some whole, some fragments, ■ some Roman copies, so filling the room 
that we could hardly wind our way through. * "Every time I went abroad, I came 
back pennyless, ""he said,- and how worth-^ile his profligacy proved to be. 
Milles pointed out this detail and that. Then he passed his hand lovingly 
up and down the back of a raale torso. "Just look at this backl Few sculptors 
can do a good back. I can do it..." Not for a moment did this sound like conceit 
but merety an all-embracing love and appreciation, objective- even toward himself. 
"But!*, and that was the only sad note heard i "I offered this whole collection 
to the United States government, but they never even answered.' And now it 
will all go to the Sweedish government after I am gone." 

When Milles told me hbwt his advice to tis students was "to drink wine in- 
stead of milk," that did not imply criticism as much as a desire for more verve, 
expressed in biblical connotations. 



- Then- we came to a- room, very large and high and empty, skylighted. In 
one corner on our lefttthere stood high upon a steel pipe- and resting on a 
steel base on casters, an almost life-size male figure in a horizontal descen- 
ding attitude. This was-the- last of some twenty or so figures Milles had 
completed; after twelve years of work, for the Fountain of Faith, a dherished 
dreaiB of a far-sighted rcitizen, Rober Marlow, at the National Memorial Park i:. j^,- ; li 
in Falls Church in Virginia. (This full ? information i owe to the great kindness 
and courtesy of Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.) 

The figure was still in plasteline, completely finished and ready to 
be shipped to Italy for- casting in bronze. It represented- a man who, according 
£o Miliesfs own commentary in the prospect -of the Memorial Park, "was a romantic • 
man and very sentimental" and "each day he cut one j_f lower from the garden which 
they had together cherished^- and presented it to his wife. "He holds one in 
his hand -to tell her they will start again where they left off . - And when she 
awakens- they will be happy again as before; *• - 

•Then' Milles wanted to show me this figure from all sides. Pulled it 
out of "its comer, then got behind it, placed his fight foot on the comer of the 
steel plate of the standv Then - I couldn't quite believe- he would do it until it 
happened - he gave it a kick with all his might. The figure,, soared across .^ 
the -room diagonally and toward the opposite corner, careening, gyrating widely, 
over the rough and warped old floor board£,trundling on Its small casters,. then 
coming to a stop, serene as ever. - 

• Now I can assert this with unweavering and profound conviction: That 
figure would have crashed down headlong under any normal physical condtions and 
if anyone else had kicked it the same way. It defied every physical law. I could 
not believe my eyes. -The weight was perhaps 200 pounds, the height about 7 feet, 
and thebase hardly three feet square. I said nothing and- Milles evidently saw 
in it. nothing unusual at all-. - (The figire was so high for the sculptor to model 
■it the way it would be seen. in the finished monument.) It must have been 




-It mast have been -faith » that Very -faiths / dr "as- small as a grain of, ' 
mustardvseed.** But there must have been nore to that. The- clay-figure Milles 
had -kicked was of the world beyond, on which and- in whichhb had dWelt fothtvf^lye ye; 
while fashioning all the nineteen figures- that had precede^ .tMilles» had fived^^*.. " 
in a-stat-e that . trascerris death and all the- finite things of the earth, including 
its physical laws. In retrospect, such was the world of Milles and I was In 
it at the»time. His glowing gentleness and unhampered love came from there, 
too.' :v - '' " . - 

Milles was -in the realm that transcends the first man and is close to the 
second ma n, liberated from the binding finiteness of the earth. As for myself, 
I can -still grasp the second man's infinite world only through the vehicle of 
finite'-«m.ts, strung alone like the bead* of a necklace. I still cannot perceive 
an oak leafaS continuing after its brown^and dry autumnal- fall} until it reaches 
a perfect ^ind ideal menora pattern, which had guided guided him^-but; could not be re; 
in life. And as with oak leaves, and others plants and animals, so with men. 
I se e im mortality in succession, not in uniterrupted state of being. But I 
cannot for a moment doubt the world beyond ',in> which ililles- lived - and perhaps 
still does. For even now, as I write this, I Seem to be aware of. him, standing 
at my side. .:.-,, •• ^ ■ • • ' 

- - • i^p 

oblivie>«s of the lake before him; tbe girls in Sweeden that had -swam too far, 

the one drawned, the other rescued but joining her sister a few days later; 

a recluse university professor who lived in a cevf ,&surrounded by tamed animals, 

whom Milles as -a, young man visited .one year -and the next he found the cave empty j- 

- The figures of the Fountain of Faithy^portraits of people Milles had known 

The boy who drowned following inAenchantment a bird that had landed on his handi 

the man had taken his own life and had taken the animals with him, as Peter 
Williams did with his cat. And many others. 

On Milles's invitation, I ^gturned in the evening. More conversation, more 


listeni-ng on ay part. —I -noticed a large-animal figure, like a hypopotamus, in 
"■^lazed^J brightly colored ceramics^ "It-was done by one of my students and I 
liked it and bought it from' her*** Then he wanted to show me- his precious possession, 
his -Poussin. It was upstairs in their brdroom. As we apprached the tall, ccont^'- 
tenental double door (fi*j-ifc<:h -must have made Milles feel at home) , it was closed 
for the-ni|4it-«acHe knocked, .then knockedi^gain, then called "Olga" and "Olga" again, 
when a feable voice ans-wered and grs. Mitles, -evidently as. infinitely kind as 
Mr. Milles, withdrew^nto another room/. "^ > 

We entered the bed- room, all in order, the bed made. Milles had brought 
with him a powerful and a large magnifying glass. Then we appoached 
_a beautiful Poussin landscape, which remi-nddd-me of the one at "the Metropolitan, 
— '*^'rV -:;. - later discovered- to he by Francisque Millet, but could have well been by 
Poussin. - It was over tte bed, but we somehow managed to come close to it 
and then! "Just look at: this detail" and'Milles handed me the magnifying glass 
and brightly lighcd the spot with his flashlight. Then another spot, and 
yet another. 'The only-way to look at a painting," herfemarked^.-i:- -. 

-How inadequate a companion I inast have been through it alls But Milles was 
talking to the second man, not to me, the first man . 

■ As-I was taking my leave, I asked the great man if he would ever consider 
coming to Sweet Briar to speak to the students. "If someone like you asked me, 
yes, I would." Unforgivable and inexplicable dullness on my part, but on my r t' ^ 
return to the college I got busy and never-pursufed the great opportunity that 
could have blessed ^o many. That was just one of the devastating failures that 

haunt mfi., the first man . Milles was 75 when I knew him in 1979 and he atrtended 

of „ 
the dedication the greatest work of Iny life, as he conceded, at Falls Church 

in 1952. He joined his people_of the Fauntain of Peace shortly after. It might 

be add^d-th^t Robert Marlow first approached Milles with a letter in 1939, asking 

him to d"0' the Fountain of Peace, but, having no answer, he went to see him a year 

later, and the letter was found unopened under * "disorderly pile of paper." 



But destiny caught up with him. - . 

Luke gives an even simpler concept of the firs t and the second an than 
PauL,wheit-he writesj Two- men -shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and 
the other left.** (17:36)- The one that is "taken** Sheds off and-Lcav^s .behind 
all the shortcomings that- have hurt him and haunted him. The first man is 
the artificial flower, made of wire, cotton, and paper,, as -Ouspensky once wrote. 
But the man that is"left" shines through all great art. Pavarotti refers to his ' 
.own voice as "she" - the - second man , that is, woman. Beethoven's - first man was 
so blatantly objectionable, boorish, t uncouth, and yet that first man was not 
kept- altogether out of Beethoven's musical creations either.- It seems to me l^^_ 
that the-calculated uggliness of his Great'Fugue isconspicuously of the first '..-^ 
man . My friend, Ernest Zechiel thought it -was due Co deafness, but I chink that 
premise -n denied by the rfict that* in the same breath,' so to speak, Beethoven v.. 
could be rhapsodic, when-he wanted to be, as in the Srd movement of Opus 135 
or in the*2ncl of 132, which bear no Crace of Che angry discords. Beechoven - j:i^_ 
shook his'fist at heaven when he felt ike-it, as he did, it-is said, at his 
deathl: bed. Or did he just thumb his nose at us? But be that as it may, the 
potential nothigngness of the first man must be born in mind - and demonstrated. 


/The land of the romantic and powerfully dynaunic formations of the 

Sleeping Giant" 



/i : f » I » » 


^^-^ - - "--^■s v^' . - 1 M" ^'^■^": i:<v^ 7i.v^' 





-- • - >i,.;.,- ■..••.';it}7 >>r- ^ 

* --.-. ■■f-i'r','.. i-i- ^s. 



.^m.i • W'/ ^^^' /V-:!^^^^^:-^■ 









My Virginia was a land of romantic -and powerfully dynamic formations 
of the Sleeping Giant- and of the blue range that was a steady backdrop to 
alrlithat-.wenc oni-i.To-me it was a lind -of the best English tradition; of 
Southern grace; of the -gentleness of black peopl?,who carried their sub- 
servience with love and cheer and unquestioned willingness. I- am especially 
thinking of Sterling Jones -and Sam Hutchins, the two janitors I delt with 
daily. Grace and affection and respectfulnes and willingness marked every- 
thing they did for me.- Their quick and ready outburst of laughter was a 
reaction that met cgvery :^ightest show of J^indness that came. from;: £roiu 
ua*. ^- - - - 

A few years after"I left the college I heard how Sterling - and no one 

could'guessi his age - -had been losing his memory and one cold winter's night he 

-rose out of -bedv^-dressed and wandered out cf the house unnoticed. Heir. ••. cicr i , 

got lost in the woods and was found frozen to death. Of his gentle responses 

one stands outs All the help on campus were taken to attend a concert by the 

Washington Symphony one Sunday afternoon. The next morning I asked Sterling 

how he liked it. He was enthralled. "Doctor /'we were all rdoctors^j next 

to eat'n and serving the-Lawd, music is-the best thing." 

As for the gentleness and the nobility of; white people, one example i Some 

friends, whon I hadnf^- known very tong,f'once asked mei "Will you come to see us" 

on such-and-such date? "I would te delighted. What time- would be best?" 

"0 [after a slight hesitacionjabout six." What an awkward hour; I thought, 

but I accepted and when the date arrived I came. Immediately I noticed a long 

table set in t he garden <"guiyarden"). laden with delicacies and my embarrassment 

began. Half an hour later first guests began arriving. When they were all 


assembled, I-had to leave for I had an evening engagement of-another kind. Then 
the embarrassment of this insensitive Yankee became profound. He had been 
uncoath enough not to-grasp the delicacy of an invitation-in which the word 
"dinner" would have been blunt and tantamount to saying: "Come and we want 
to feed you." Such a sirttlety this Yankee had to learn the hard way. 

^When after eighteen years of that pleasant dream, marred oqly by some 
nightmares of my own making,' I left: to go north, ;1. felt like a trator. But it Kad 
all been a period of srrhooling and evidently 1 was not to presume that I 
really "belongedthere permanently. - - . 

Then another cycle' of eighteen years followed, this time in a land of 
industry of t h; hard-working Pennsylvania German stock; a land of slate- and 
limestone rrountains and of pines and oaks and doogwood, all blazing white 
in t te spring and flamrng red in the fall, - mountains so ancient that 
their fyrraks, once rivaling the Rockies, are now but level-top Itjng ranges, 
having filled, through -many millions of years, the Dgllaware Riverbed with 
"SilC"^htmdreds of ^ feet deep. . None of those rolling blue romantic and dynamic 
formations, but the Pennsylvania mountains have a different beauty, all 
under a green velvet of thick forestry. It is also a land-of upright and 
prosperous looking bams,- hung with "hexes", which is a crude and unjust 
terra for the presumably decorative disks* These are painted with flower 
designs always based op'rthe number six , the six implied in the ''consider the 
^..lilies" of the New Testament and in the Creation of the Old Testament. It 
was the same six that Henry Thoreau had in mind when he spoke of snowflakes 
as the "masterpieces of the number six, six, six," and which he saw as the 
"glorious -sweepings of heaven's floor." -• 

Those "glorious sweepin|,S" however, got to be much for us in this age 
of motorized comfort and so one fall, seven years ago, we heard the 
ceaseless chattering from those V-formations up in heaven above and thought 
it -had spelled out the word "Sanibel", So we decided to follow the Canada 


My dear friend, Celius Dougherty, read my Mini memoirs of Sweet Briar Days , 
written in ordinary prose, but when he came to a passage containing an im- 
pression of my present Sanibel life, he, without changing a word, poured it 
into the form of a poem. He sent it to me with these words: "I couldn't resist 
copying your words, for it seemed to me that by this time I know a poem when 
I see it, I always remember your little photograph of the egret, but now your 
poem will keep it for me in a still mote permanent way." This is the poem, 
as Celius fashioned it out of my words: 

Egrets are our friends. 

Tame, unafraid, ever solitary, 

Always still, silent, waiting. 

Slender their necks 

And even thinner, black, tall legs. 

And one wonders.. 

How they ever function. 

One egret came to our church steps one Sunday morning, 

Walking slowly up the steps, 

And then in through the open door, 

In and down the aisle. 

Friendly, cautious, just looking around, 

Then back again and out 

In cautious dignity. 

I thought how nice it would be, 

When ray time came 

To go out and wherever I came from. 

If I could go out 

In that same cautious dignity, 

For 1 too have looked around, 

I have examined the temple 1 have entered, too, 

/^nd not knowing it was a temple. 

Much like that egret. 

But unlike that egret, 

1 had to cope with evil in myself 

In order to gain a glimpse of the good. 

And to know that good is all - 

And all is good. 


geese-down and 'that's where we are now; Thus the third eighteen-year Pyde 
ended, the second being- in Virginia, the first in New York, which was but 

aj^period of schooling for all that was to come. 

As Sweet Briar wasan enchanted plantation, so Sanibel is an enchanted 

island^-,: -it is wholy foreign to the red and gold maples and deep green pines 

and owesome mountains- we leave behind in t te fall. Pelicans, yes, and gulls, 

too, bntthe pheasants and hawks and night hawks of tlie region of Cherry 

Valley are - or werer-aorpe thing else, before they were all but wiped out 

by pesticides and buckshot. I remeber how once, when I was composing an 

8-min film of those "sixes" of the lily and of the atom, I looked out of 

my studio window and up toward the sky f. six hawks were circling in i 

interlaced orbits against the blue sky. A minute later they were all gone. 

in Cherry Valley, 
The deer are still arouncSj bbt in ever-dimindis&ing numbers. '"Imagine, 

just for fun, a reversed piPture, with the deer killing men just for fun 

and carrying them heme wrapped across the hoods of their carsIC . On Sanibel 

no one shoots* and wild- Ufe knows it and is tame. It is an island of love 

and equanimity, even if the palms and the flatness do not take place of 

mountains and "real" trees. Egrets are our friends, tame, unafraid, ever 

solitary, always still, „silent, and wait-ing..^ Slender thin necks and even 

thinner black tall legs, and one wonders how they ever funct-von. Oii£_e£ret_ 

came to our church steps pne Sunday morning, walked slowly op the steps and 

then in through the open door, in and down the isle, friendly, curious, 

just looking around. Then liack again and out, in cautious dignity. 

I thought how nice it would be, when my time came.-to go out j and where I 

came from, if I could go out in that same cautious dignity. For I have looked 

around, too. I have examined the temple I had entered, too, and not 

knowing it was a temple, much like that egret. But unlike that egret, I had 

to cope with evil in myself in order to gain a glimpse of the good and to 

know that good is all - and all is good. 



Like the Biblical- "Vsraan that hath a familiar spirit at Endor," Doris 
could -^i viae", and then much more. Her "Endor" was called Thickencoop" 
and-was an upstairs' tea -room on west 58th, just off Fifth Avenue in New 
York City. Doris washighly educated, of a distinguished family, -we were 
told, and had lived in the Orient with her husband in the military service 
and her high art allegedly v stemmed partly from those days. Now she was 
reading -palms of any curious and willing diner at the tea room and for a 
fee of 50 cents! We were S paety of four. Our host, Frank Shields, who 
was of the Barbasol (the- first brushless shaving cream) fortune add several 
other -fortunes, was otir host. That was-all back in the mid-forties. Frank 
was-curious to know vrttatr-Dorish^d to sayi 

And so she came to our table and proceeded, one by one, studying the 
palm minntely, never looking up, and dirrulging with business-like detach- 
ment the intimate side of our characters, minutely, accurately? mercilessly. 
Apparently there was more to it than th^ lines of our palms. When compli- 
mented on the amazing -results, she remarked that ii was easy to "read" the 
palms of those who provided heijwith sufficient material, but in some cases of 
empty, lives, "I had to cross my legs to keep the current within, rae," she 
explained, divulging a-'communion beyondfthe palm lines. At any rate, here 
is one example of Boris's penetrating art. She told Frank he had"lost three fortun' 
first- on the air, second- in- silver, third- in dies. So it was; First the 
Barbasol- Radio, (^ or air, advertizing, ending in failure; second, -a silver 
mine that failed; third, a- die contract with the German army^ that was cut 
of ly the First World War. - - 

- , When iy~ turn came Doris came upon something that will make a curious i 


finishung touch to these "Minimerooirs » First and off-nahd she declared "this 
man does etchings, pen-and-ink drawings; the tips of the fingers are show=.**^ 
ing thati" Then she put forth, with equal matter-of-fact assurances This 
man has royal blood. —That- is quite plain, right here.** And then she went on 
to other-sharp and undeniable statements. Be that as it may, I had nothing 
to do-ifith my family past, 'one way or another, and whatever may be uncovered 
about it- -can^be neithei-to -my creditn3>6r^ discredit. Bat^-the Estexisi, as __. 
the House of. _Este was to ow n -, might shed-some-light oa" the- complexities- of v 
the • experiences presented in the Ninimewoirs - . • 

A'few years before-the ■'-Doris episode,, my of.«rt-^oh New'Yorki";tJ-" 
took me -frequently to the Metropolitan Museum. Close to the 'north-west.- 
door of the first gal tery- upstairs, there hund a state portrait of Alfonso 
d'Este by Titian and every time I went by on my way to the rest of the Have- 
mayer -collection, this portrait exerted a special pull on me, more than 
anything else at the museum. He reminded me strongly of my father, but 
that "was neither here-nor there." The criterion was that of art, this 
being^in my sight, one of Titian's best protraits, in its subdued, discrete 
way. But the attract4ron--vas less tangible, more subliminal, stretching back 
in time, it appears, and - it If inally ended in my copying the portrait.. 

Thr process of copying was like associating with the master himself, 
:I. had., to ptyr deeply, analyzing each minutest brushstroke, sometimes so. • 
, subtle -and elusive that ^it.^ was rundis£inguiahabft.«. Often,;! had ,to: sayt "It .is 
and it isn't at tie same- time'." Thus the association, became close not only''" 
with Titian: but. with his. subject, Alfonso«d 'Este. This then led me to the 
Encyclopedia.- BritXannicavi*here v^hSfl found is cosiderably condensed here. 

T^The strong influence of the Estensi on Italian politics begins with 
Nicolo III (1393-1641) although the two preceding Nicolos had politican 
and cultural merits of their own. But Nicolo III was quite a boy, as we would 


say today.- He was knovm for his sensuality and there was a saying in Ferrarai 
"On both sides of the River Po they were all Nicolo's sons." He hbeaded his 
son and has own young, second wife, for they were caught in adultery. At the 
same time he sponsored Christian faith, and among other activities in that 
line he tried to bring the Western and Eastern churches together. He died 
suddenly, possibly poisoned, in 14^1. But it was he that raised the Estensi to 
a great importance in Italian politics. •■ - 

-Nicolo III chose as his successor his illegitimate son Leonello (lAAl- 
50), who raised Ferrara to great distinction in the arts and culture. and be- 
came the first Duke of Ferrara. Leonello's half brother Ercole I (1471-1505) 
raised the House of Este to an even higher prestige" by marrying the daughter 
of the King of Naples. One of his three daughters, Beatrice, was married to 
Lodovico Sforza of Milan. His eldest son was married first to Anna Sforza 
of Milan, then to the famous Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI. 
The old man Ercole was a great patron of t he arts, sponsoring poetry, espcially 
Ariosto, as well as theater and music. Under hira Ferrara became one of the 
first cities of Europe. 

Ercole was succeeded by Alfonso I (1505-34) - our Alfonso. His two 
brothers he had sentenced to death, as they plotted to overthrow hira. Then 
came the war with Venice in 1509, which Ferrara won, due largely to Alfonso's 
high ability in the field of engineering, especially artillery design. (That is 
why in Titian's portrait Alfonso's right hand rests on the mouth of a facetted 
bronze barrel of a cannon. My copy was xi two parts, head and hand.) 

To his ibwiK detriment Alfonso sponsored French interests in Italy, Pope Julius II 
didn't like that at all and he excommunicated him. He was succeeded by his 
son, Ercole II (1534-59)who aarried the daughter of King Louis XII of France. 
Ercolo's son Alfonso II (1559-970 was the fifth and the last duke of ferrara, 
who tried unsuccessfully to become king of Poland. .UL-':. lis. ac:;!.;-. :cr:ar5 
\.-::s ? Ill morearecentotiraes, the line goes over to Austria, andrtft, Franz Ferdinand, 

murdered in Sarajevo in -191^; to his duaghter Zita and to her son the Arch- 
duke Robert, still living as.c!- the last heir of' the Estensii 

A glance back at my own family takes me no farther back than 1782, 
when Marco Qe Hocco^ an artisan of some sort, was born in Feltre, privince 
of Treviso, northern Italy - or so it was said- but when in Italy in 1928 
I was told at the city hall of Feltre: "No, your family comes from Beluno,** 
and the kind official pointed out through theopen window toward -the glimmering 

outline~r)f Beluno, beyond some green fields and tufts of cypresses, framed 
by the open window ^ ali like a Ghirlandaio painting. "But no records exist," 
he continued, "neither there nor here, earlier than the Napoleonic Wars, when 
all the documents were destroyed." Marco's grandson, my grandfather, Giovanni, 
later Jovan, came to Belgrade as a professor of calligraphy, free-hand drawing, 
add geometry. -. .. . _ 

On-my mother's side there was less room for far-flung speculations 
on distant • ancestry. The recollection reaches no farther than ray mother's 
bachelor- uncle, who raised her after the death of her parents. He was a _ 
professor of humanities -and an amateur astronomer. He was the founder of the 
national theater in what was then the little principality of Serbia, not long 
from ander- the Turkish rule, soon to tecome a kingdom. Later he took the 

young crown-prince on a tutoring tour abroad i • ... 

-Then there was my-r.other's first consinm,' a. bachelor also') who was a proffesoi 
of history, a writer, and a poet ("Serbian Mark Twain", someone on this side ■ 
of theAtiantic said). -1 still remember-tha'Tiiagic pattern of many colors, with 
red and' gold outstanding, on the cover of -his black lacquer tobacco box, as at . 

the age of f ive !i' sa"t" at his knee, while he rolled his cigarette out£n tobacc 
My leaning toward' red and gold seems to stem from that moment. And that is as 
close-as we get to royalty on this side. - 

• Soends my quest.' There are some who believe that we have a knowledge 
of oiif ancestors' lives stored away in what is called the subconscious. But 



the final decision as to whether or notthere ever was anything to what Doris 
so confidently and emphatically declared, I mus leave in the realm of my fond 
memory of that remarkable woman-. 

Finally and by way of footnote to the elaborate geneology just pre- 
sented, it might be added that I was born January ^, 1897 and that I came to 
America in 19214 for which I am eternally grateful. 



The preceding Minimemoirs are weighted heavily on the side of what 
some may call occultism. One of the meanings Webster's Dictionary gives to 
the word occult is: "Beyond the scope of the understanding; mysterious," which 
is applicable in our case. Another meaning relates to "alchemy, magic, astro- 
logy and other arts. . .involving fivination, incantation, magical formulae, etc." 
and Tothing can be further from the meaning applicable here. Lumping together 
of such disparate "arts" misses the point. Alchemy, as it was seen and practiced 
by Isaak Newton and some crtrhers was a real and respectable science, not superstition 
or magic, and so was astrology. Nevertheless-, these additonal cases of things 
that are "beyond the scope of understanding" and "mysterious" are given here 
at -the very end, that they might be easily ignored by those who "have had enough." 

-My friend Parker Fillmore came to visit me, and events that followed I 
find noteworthy for their relatedness. 

^s Parker was eating breakfast, the nife broke in two in his hand; the ,:r.r. 
Rhife was "sturdy "and the' slice of bacon he was cutting was soft. 


I left Parker with Dora Raymond while I went to finish a sketch in the 
field* ^-.(What the -urgeney-was- escapes me now, after thirty six years, and it 
only seems like a callous and selfish lack of hospitality, which I only can hope 
it wasn't the case.) As I sketched, the folding chair broke urrler me and col- 
lapsed, r- • -4 - 

Dora had invited a young, ' beginning writer to meet-Parker, who was 
accomplished in the field. Later she told me "He had handed the torch over to 
her; it was a symbolic occasion. :" - - 

After Ihat visit Parker co.Tiplained about indigestion, went out into 
the boxwood garden and was found deid a little later. 

In the evening DOora and I sat in her living room in stunned silence, 
waiting fo- the telephone central to obtain permission and put through my 
call toParker's wife's unlisted number. Doraasked me to read aloud out 
of any book from the shelf, to pass time. The first sentence out of the 
first book was on death. I closed the book and put it back. This was repeated 
two more times, each time- with a book picked out at random. We gave up. 
The following mornong the news came -over radio it was D-Day and the 
allied invasion of Normandy had begun. 

Some months later and with the help -of mutual friends in New York I 
had a granit stone installed-on Parker's grave in Amherst. It appeared not quite 
upright in place and I went with a plumbob to check. It startled me as tt began 
circling in ray hand wider and wider. Something impelled me to take the plumbob 
lower to where the body had lain and it began oscilating widely and powerfully. 

This was the same brass plumbbob I had bought in Rome after a visit to 
a boyhood friend, then a chemical engineer with the Chiris perfume factory in 
Grass, in the south of France. This company had kept on its payroll plumbob dowsers, 
whose duty aas to determine hhe presence of underground water before a field could 
be rented or purchased for the cultivation of jasmine. My friend had learned 
the art from them. Now he entertained me until two in the morning by, among 


manifestations of the same art, determining the sex of of each person from a heap 
of photographs, well shuffled and turned face dovm. The circles revealed a male, 
the oscillations a female. It never failed. 

-As I returned to the States I continued the experiments, always success- 
fully, even--with printed pictures. I have not kept it up. The initiil experi- 
ment my friend had shown me was over the palm of the hand, '^in: the masculine i..o • 
case a circle, as if to accommodate the positive sign, and in the feminine case 
oscillating, as if inscribing a negative si^a. All of which led me later to un- 
dersant better the meainxTig and -the finction-of the ancient swastika symbol. 

•Another ancient and universal symbol, the hexagram, came with its 
meaning into my life when -I was teaching the role of the primary and secondary 
colors, as -they all correspond to the points of the triangles, -three and three. 
It came to me in a dream, with all its ramifications. And shortly after that 
I seemed to- Have been led to rise at down one day and go out to a high point, 
from which I could see most of the horizon. The sky was completely overcast a 
solid gray and no sun in sight. But a double rainbow stretched uniterrupted 
from horizon to horizon, a highly emotional experience for me. This led to the 
awareness of the i'. number' six, particularly as it appears in-what-is to me an 
allegory of the human consciousness in the form of the six "days of creation" 
in Genesis,: al saw, it. also in the "covenant between me and the-earth" (Gen. "9:13) 
between heaven and earth, life being an interaction between the two. 

It all falls into; its proper place if we but distinguish between those 
two men we have been talking about - the first man and the second man . Whatever 
is "occult" is of the first man. Whatever is real and eternal is of the second 
man . - -Everything would te fine in the. world if the two were not constantly 
confused. And so end the Miniraemoirsi . -